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(John 1:19–34)  That Mysterious Holy Spirit

(John 1:19–34) That Mysterious Holy Spirit

by Stephen Davey
Series: Sermons in John
Ref: John 1:19–34

This section of John's Gospel introduces us to perhaps the most misunderstood character in Scripture: the Holy Spirit. Who is He? What does He do? What should we know about Him? Find out now.


“That Mysterious Holy Spirit”

John 1:19-34

This next section of John’s Gospel introduces to us a subject that is perhaps among the most misunderstood subjects in all the Bible - the Holy Spirit.  Very few Christians are perfectly comfortable with this third person of the Godhead - primarily because of a lack of understanding.

We're like an adopted child that's been away from his mother for 15 years.  Upon reuniting with her he's awkward and unsure.  He doesn't know if he should hug her or hide from her.  He knows he is supposed to love her but he's not sure quite how to go about expressing that love.   So also with the Holy Spirit, we're uncertain about how to relate to Him.  We know that He an important part of redemption, yet He just so happens to be that part of the package we’re afraid to unwrap.

For that reason I want to pause long enough to deal with the subject of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  It happens to be part of John the Baptizer’s promise as he preached to the people of his day.

John 1:19.  And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"  20.  And he confessed, and did not deny, and he confessed, "I am not the Christ."  21.  And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?"  And he said, "I am not."  "Are you the Prophet?"  And he answered, "No."   22.  They said then to him, "Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us?  What do you say about yourself?"  23.  He said, "I am a voice of one crying in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord," as Isaiah the prophet said."  24.  Now they had been sent from the Pharisees, 25.  And they asked him, and said to him, "Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?"

To the Jewish mind, to baptizo (baptizw) was a common term that simply meant, “to immerse or dip.” It was a word closely related to their custom of dipping cloth into dye.  Wool was first dipped into bleach which made it clean and white, then dipped into other liquids to create the desired color.  Furthermore, water was extensively used in the old Testament in connection with ceremonial cleansing. The unclean person had to wash himself with water to remove his uncleanness in Leviticus before he could be restored to fellowship. 

Thus, to John the prophet, immersion had both the ideas of cleansing and consecration to a new identity.  In fact, John demanded immersion as a sign of repentance. 

People often confuse John’s baptism with believer’s baptism.  While both utilize the aspect of immersion in water, John’s baptism was occurring in the Old Testament, primarily to the Jew.  Even though we're reading from the New Testament book of John, remember, we're still in the Old Testament and John is an Old Testament prophet.  It isn’t until after the resurrection and ascension of Christ that the New Testament “begins”.

So Prophet John’s baptism was actually an Old Testament form of ceremonial cleansing for the Jew who had become “unclean” through sin and failure to follow the Law.  New Testament baptism, or “believer’s baptism”, is for both Jew and  Gentile.  It is an act of identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is not a ceremonial act of cleansing simply because, for the Christian, cleansing has already occurred!   The act of baptism is simply an outward demonstration of faith in the death, burial and resurrection of their Savior, Jesus Christ.

 Somewhere around here Beth, there should be a pull out box.  

Take it to Heart.

Did you know that baptism is for believer’s only.  According to Matthew 28:19, 20 the church is commanded to baptize “disciples”.   A disciple (mathetes) is someone who follows and learns from their master.  That means the only Biblical candidates for baptism are those who are following Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.  Nowhere does the Bible explicitly say that infants or unbelieving children are baptized.  Many people conveniently read into certain passages the implication that infants were baptized, but the Bible never gives even one illustration of that ever happening.  Instead, the Bible relates baptism as an act of obedience for the disciple who wishes to demonstrate his identification with Christ through the symbolic death and resurrection from the grave (water).  In other words, baptism is not something your parents do for you, it is something you do for Christ.

One further evidence of the difference between John’s baptism and believer’s baptism is seen in the “re-baptism” of John’s disciples.   According to Acts 19:5-3, those who had been following John and who later believed in Jesus Christ as their Messiah were actually rebaptized!

Acts 19:5 - 3.  Into what were you baptized?  And they said, "Into John's baptism."  4.  And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus."  5.  And when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

By the way, if you wanted to be a part of that first century crowd that followed John the Baptizer, you would have been required to be immersed!

This was consistent with the Old Testament practice of proselyte baptism.  This was the custom where a Gentile who wished to identify with the Jews as a convert to Judaism would be baptized with water. 

And that's where John's baptism became very confusing to the religious leaders of his day.  Why?!


For two basic reasons:

1) In Old Testament proselyte baptism, the candidates baptized themselves!

Here in John’s Gospel, the prophet John is assuming authority over the participants by baptizing them himself.

2) John was requiring Jews to be baptized. 

Not only was this confusing, coming from someone who claimed to be a prophet of God to the nation Israel, but it was also humiliating.  The Jews were prepared to accept the fact that Gentiles were defiled and needed ceremonial cleansing, but to put Jews in the same class as Gentiles was horrifying!  Jews were already people who belonged to God. . .so they thought.

It’s important to remember two symbols related to John's baptism with water:

Mark’s Gospel account summarizes these two reasons from John’s own words.  John the Baptist appeared preaching a baptism of repentance . . . saying, “After me One is coming who is mightier than I . . .”  (Mark 1:4-7)

                  Thus, the two symbols related to John’s baptism of the people was:

                  -a symbol of repentance

                  -a sign of preparedness

Beth – a pull box?? WORDS OF WISDOM:

Just for the record you may have notice that the first chapter of John refers to four different baptisms:

       1) the baptizing by John of repentant people (identified them with the prophet)

       2) the baptism of Jesus by John (identified Christ with Israel)

       3) the baptism of the believer (identified disciples with the Savior’s death, burial & resurrection)

       4) the baptism of the Holy Spirit (identified believers with the Body/church of Jesus Christ)

                  There are actually two other baptisms that we’ll discover as we study further.

Now, let's take a closer look at water baptism by John, especially as it related to Jesus Christ.:

John 1:29.  The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who  takes away the sin of the world.  30.  This is He on behalf of whom I said, "After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me."  PULL BOX (John gives clear reference to the pre-existent, eternality of Jesus Christ.  If Christ did not exist before He was born in the flesh, then how could John say, He (Christ) existed before me (John), since John was born 6 months before Jesus?

31.  And I did not recognize Him, but in order that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.  32.  And John bore witness saying, "I have beheld the Sprit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.

Some of the gaps in this account are filled in by Mark’s Gospel1:9  And it came about in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10.  And immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him;  11.  and a voice came out of the heavens; "Thou art my beloved Son, in Thee I am well pleased."

So . . . Just why was Jesus baptized?

  1. to identify with the message of John the Baptist

By being baptized, Jesus in effect declared His belief in John’s message by saying, "The kingdom of God is indeed at hand".

2) so that John would know without a doubt who to introduce as Israel's Messiah!

John 1:33.  And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, "He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. 34.  And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.

According to this verse, God had evidently, at an earlier time, told John that the sign of the true Messiah would be the dove like Spirit descending at his baptism upon the Messiah. That’s exactly what happened at Christ’s baptism.

Take note then, the Spirit did not take the form of a dove so that Jesus could see Him coming, but so that John could see Him coming and announce with the certainty of God’s own fulfilled promise – this One is truly the Messiah!

3) to signal the beginning of the Messiah's ministry

In the Old Testament times, a prophet, priest and King were all anointed before assuming their tasks.  In Leviticus 8 we have the three fold anointing of a priest.  First with water (cleansing), then oil (the Spirit’s indwelling/empowerment), finally with blood (atonement).

Perhaps we can see in Christ’s baptism his preparation as prophet, priest and King.  At His baptism we have water (symbolizing his purity), the descent of the Holy Spirit (symbolizing his empowerment) and, a still future baptism with blood (crucifixion and atonement).

4) to reveal the approval of Jesus his cooperation with the other two person of the Trinity

What a wonderful passage that reveals the truth of a triune God.  In Mark’s Gospel account you have, all at one time God the Son is standing in the water, God the Spirit is descending in the form of a dove and God the Father speaking from heaven, “This is my beloved Son . . .”

5) to symbolically picture another, future, baptism.

                  John 1:33b "This is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit."

                  Mark 1:8 - I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

In the Book of Acts, the resurrected Lord Jesus picks up this theme of baptism as He directs His apostles,  And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which”, He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the holy Spirit not many days from now." (Acts 1:4-5)

Did the apostles know what Jesus was talking about?  No!  Did they understand that the dispensation of the church was about to begin?  No!  Did they understand the offer of the kingdom had been postponed?  No!  Did they understand their mission?  No!

At this point, none of them had a clue.  That's why Jesus said, I'm leaving, and after I'm gone, I'll send Someone else to instruct and teach you.

Something dramatic was  about to change.  In fact, many things for the believers were about to change!

Now there are movements such as the holiness movements, the Vineyard Movement, the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, the Latter Rains, the Apostolic, the Second Blessing movements who quote, or misquote the meaning of Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."  They say that means that since Jesus did certain things in the past he certainly is doing them in the present and will do them in the future.

Is Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever?  In essence, yes!  As to function, no!

Let me show you four important changes in the words, works and function of Jesus Christ:

1) There was a change in Jesus' commission:

Matthew 10:5,6 - These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."

What a biased and prejudiced command, right?!  Not if you understand that Jesus will later change his commission.  Not if you understand that the original intention for Jesus was to offer a literal kingdom to the nation Israel.  That offer was rejected, and Israel would be set aside - the gospel would ultimately go to Gentile and Jew alike.

Now Jesus would command them, in Acts 1:8 to take the message of the gospel and “be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and even tot he remotest part of the earth.”

Christ’s commission clearly changed!

2)  There was a change in Jesus' location:

We read in John 16:28.  “I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father.”

In John 16:7, Christ said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you."

Then in verse 13. “But when He, the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth. . ."

3)  There was a change in Jesus' ministry and focus:

In the Old Testament      -                He is the angel of Lord

In the Gospels                      -                He is the searching, dying Savior

In Acts                                      -                He is the commissioning, ascending Son

In the Epistles                      -                He is the interceding Shepherd

In Revelation                        -                He is the conquering Lamb

4).  Finally, there is a change in Christ's revelation to mankind about Himself

As you study the Bible you discover what theologians call progressive revelation; that is, the revelation of God expands as you move not only from the Old Testament to the New Testament, but as you move through the New Testament itself.

Beth – this probably should be kept in the flow of the text/manuscript??

Perhaps this diagram will help:

The Gospels                          The Acts                                  The Epistles                                           Revelation

His life                                      His power                               His leadership                                      His supremacy

is revealed                             is revealed                             is revealed                                              is revealed          


He is crucified                      He ascended                         He intercedes                                       He returns          

and raised           


We have a model               We have an        We have an                                            We have a            

of Christianity                      example                                   explanation                                            conclusion          


Is Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and forever.  As to His deity, Yes!  That's what we call the immutability of Christ.  But as to His function and ministry?  No!

You must understand that the changes in God's revelation to us changes our response to Him.  This is very important to understand of confusion will abound.  If we don’t understand God’s function toward us, we will not understand our function before Him!

There are religious movements today that want to take the church backward into the Old Testament.  I am confident the church isn't found in the book of Leviticus.  Therefore I enjoyed this past week a delicious ham sandwich.  That's also the reason I'm worshipping the Lord on Sunday instead of Saturday and I'm even wearing clothing made of blended materials without fear of disobedience. 

If you’re not so convinced of the radical changes, when's the last time you sacrificed a turtle dove?!

Then there are spiritual movements that want to take the church forward into the book of Revelation.  They are busily preparing to survive the wrath of  God’s tribulation by preparing underground cellars and stocking it with dry foods to feed their families.

Then again, there are religious movements that want to keep the church from moving anywhere but inside the experiences of the early chapters of the Book of Acts.   They overlook simple facts like - until chapter 20, the church was still worshipping on the Sabbath.  But more tragically they teach the experiences of the Apostles and certain expressions from God as permanent when they are clearly temporary.  Men go around today claiming to have Apostolic power to heal and raise the dead but who instead deceive millions and get rich in the meantime.

There needs to be an understanding two important principles.  Without it you will be like a rowboat in a stormy sea without a rudder or oars - tossed about with every wind of doctrine.

Principle #1: "All the Bible is inspired and was written to us - but not all of it was written for us!"

God commanded certain things in the Old Testament that no longer apply.  For instance, Adam and Eve were commanded to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth! (Genesis 1:28)  Now my wife and I have no sense of urgency to fill the earth with as many children as she can possibly bear.  We’re quite content with twin boys and two daughters, thank you! 

God also commanded Adam and Eve to rule over the fish of these and over the birds of the air.  In the garden of Eden, their subjugation over the submissive animal kingdom is observed in the way Adam was able to name every animal as they came before him – including lions and tigers and  bears!

We recently bought a little Australian parakeet.  It cost us around $5 dollars.  And that’s about all it’s worth!  And we named her “Runaway”.  You know why?  Because that’s all she ever does to us.  I can no more rule over the birds of the air anymore than I can command my little parakeet to sit on my shoulder.


In other words, my experience with kids and animals is vastly different from Adam’s.  There must have been a change happen somewhere. 

Let  me put this important principle of change in another phrase. 

Principle #2: The experiences of believers recorded in the Bible are not normative for every believer. 

Imagine some Old Testament saint watching Elijah call down fire from heaven and then say, "Hey!  If Elijah can do that, then so can I!"  Try as he might, no fire will fall . . . not even a spark!

If you took your Bible and turned to the Book of Acts, you would notice this truth implied in the full title of the Book.  It’s appropriately called, “The Acts of the Apostles!  Not the Acts of all Believers. 

In fact, if you tuck that title away in your heart as you read through the Book of Acts, you'll be saved from a great deal of confusion. 

You will be able to look at the Apostles Peter and Paul in the same way that an Old Testament saint should have looked at Elijah and Elisha.

Now, let's break this principle down even further.

If we take just the New Testament alone, we discover several changes or transitions here as well:

  • In the Gospels - the church was predicted
  • In Acts - the church is created
  • In the Epistles - the church is instructed

Acts serves as a bridge between the Gospels and Epistles:

                  Gospels                                                                                          Epistles

                  synagogue                                                                                    church

                  circumcision & dietary laws                                            freedom of choice

                  nationalism                                                                                 globalism

                  prophecy and word of knowledge                               written word


The Book of Acts was never intended to be a basis for church doctrine or experience.  Otherwise, we would sell all our possessions and live as one community with one communal pot for survival.  We would also follow the example of Acts 1 and select church leadership by casting lots.  Every church would need offering plates, communion plates and a pair of dice!

In addition, the miracles of Acts would be the normal expression for God servants.  But notice what Hebrews 2:3 says, "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?  After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit...

What were these confirming, past tense miracles and gifts?  I believe that Marks gospel spells it out:

Mark 16:20 refers to the Apostolic community, "And they went out, and preached every where, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word by the signs that followed! 

Now back up to verse 17 and notice the list of past tense confirming signs.  "In my name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.

Notice that there were five signs/gifts/wonders used by the early believers as they confirmed the message of salvation without the benefit of a “New Testament”.  During this period of transition, those five gifts all operated to prove that the apostles were in fact, operating with the authority and power of Christ.

For modern day teachers who claim to “live in the Book of Acts,” may I remind them that you can’t pick and choose from among these five.  Either they all are operative today or all of them were part of Hebrews 2:3 - past tense confirming signs.

Joseph Dillow wrote, "We must not make the tragic mistake of teaching the experience of the apostles, but rather we must experience the teaching of the apostles. 

There’s an important principle to remember as you consider the change between the past tense ministry of the Holy Spirit and the current ministry of the Holy Spirit:  In the absence of the written Word of God, these signs confirmed the message and messenger of God.   It was a new message, a new function, a new way of worship, a new way of relating to God through Christ.

No more sacrifices at the temple; no more requirement of circumcision; no more conversion to Judaism.  It was a new dispensation called the dispensation of the church age, or the age of grace.

It's interesting that we can even piece together from later passages in the New Testament that show even the Apostles changed in their use of signs and wonders as the church age matured and developed from its initial sign filled inauguration.

The Apostle Paul had healed extensively in his early ministry, yet later encouraged Timothy to take medicine, left Epaphroditus nearly dead and Trophimus sick in Miletus.  Evidently Paul’s power of healing had already begun to move back stage as the completed scriptures moved center stage.

Thus, to apply these miraculous powers and signs to the permanent ministry of the Apostles is wrong.  Which means then, to apply these signs to present believers is not only wrong, but dangerous!  Every year, people who handle snakes are bitten.  Every year there are deaths by those who drink poison to “prove” their spirit power.  At the same time, hospitals beds are full, and cemetery plots undisturbed.   

Perhaps it is just as helpful to understand why the miraculous period of church creation began as it is to try and understand when it ended!

This period of miraculous transition began at the  creation of the church in Acts chapter 2.  More specifically, it began on the day of Pentecost, literally translated, “the 50th day). 

John the Baptizer was referring to this special day all the way back in John chapter 1 and verse 33, “. . .This is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” The Day of Pentecost was the event that John the Prophet was referring to and which Jesus had promised.

Acts records the exciting moment.  Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.   2.  And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  3.  And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.  4.  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.  5.  Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.  6.  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

On this special day, three things happened:

  1. Something audible happened

Notice again ( 2:2) And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. . .”  Now read this carefully!  There was not a mighty rushing wind that blew everybody’s hair and bulletins in the air.  It was – “a noise like a violent rushing wind.”

In other words, the room was filled with an incredible, tornado-like sound.  It certainly got everybody’s attention!

  1. Something visible happened

Again, verse 3.   And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

Again, read it carefully so that you note this was not literal fire.  It was as tongues of fire - Luke is expressing in his language something that is impossible to explain - it "looked like flickering fire".  Frankly, we have no idea what it was, but whatever it was, nobody at this point was dozing or looking out the window. 

  1. Something verbal happened

And they were all filled with he Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (2:4).

What was the result of these three things occurring?  Acts continues to record for us what happened.  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.  7.  They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?  8.  And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?  9.  Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,  10.  Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,  11.  Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”  (2:6-11)

And one other significant result occurred:  “So then, those who had received his word were baptized (that is by water); and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (2:41)

The church was created!  Something that hadn't been in existence before now exists!

One question I’m often asked centers around this thought.  Can Pentecost happen again?   The short answer?  No!  I’m not saying that the Holy Spirit is “inactive” today – far from it!  Every time someone places their faith in the redemptive work of Christ; every time a believer confesses his sin and restores fellowship with the Lord; every time a life is changed and renewed through the illumination of the scriptures – the Holy Spirit is actively involved.

But many people misunderstand the work of  the Spirit then (Book of Acts) with the work of the Spirit now. Pentectost and all its unusual sounds and sights will not happen again.  But why?


There are two reasons. 

Reason #1:  Acts 2 marks the beginning of the church age!

To repeat Acts chapter 2 and the creation of the church would be similar to Christian repeating his moment of conversion; a local church experiencing it’s “first” Sunday all over again.  We can’t.  In fact, the only thing we can do as individuals and churches is remember that it happened!

Reason #2:  Acts 2 marks the descent of the Holy Spirit from Heaven!

Once the Spirit came, he came to stay!

Can the experiences of the early church be re-visited again and again?  No.  Once the church was created, and the Spirit had descended, you were forever beyond the point of origin.  Remember, the Book of Acts is a Book of Beginnings . . . a Book of a thousand changes and transitions!

What does Paul say in further instruction to the church?

I Corinthians 12:13 - By one spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

When did you as an individual experience the baptism of the Holy Spirit?  The same time Paul tells these Corinthian believers they did . . . when they became part of the body of Christ . . . at the moment of salvation!

Every believer, has been baptized by the Spirit into the Body of  Christ.  It happened to us all – not at some special moment of ecstatic utterance or experience, but at the moment of conversion to Christ. 

But wait, doesn’t Paul tell us all to be filled with the Holy Spirit?  How can he tell us to be filled if we already are at conversion?!

It would be helpful to understand that the Greek word used by Paul for “filling” is the word  pleroo (plhrow).  It means to control.   “The indwelling Spirit of God is the One who should continually control and dominate the life of the believers.  The word is also present tense which calls for a habitual and continuing action. The passive could also be understood as permissive passive, which would translate this way:  “allow yourselves to be dominated and controlled by the Spirit.”

                                                                                          Fritz Rienecker/Cleon Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, Regency, 1980, p. 538.

So, we are told that we have been baptized by the Holy Spirit in I Corinthians 12:13.  In Ephesians 5:18 we are told to be filled by the Spirit.  The important issue is that you understand the difference between the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps this graph will help you understand the difference between these two “activities” of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism of the Sprit                                                                                 Domination/Filling of the Spirit

a past act                                                                                                       a present, ongoing experience

the Holy Spirit belongs to you                                                                        you belong to the Holy Spirit

The evidence is internal                                                                   The evidence is internal and external

adoption, sealing, indwelling,                                                           love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, etc.

It’s best to not even call the left side of this column by the word, “experience” if that word brings to mind something you can feel. Think about it.  At the moment of conversion to Christ several things happened related to the Spirit:

You were adopted . . .did you feel it?

You were sealed . . .did you feel it?

You we're baptized into the Body of Christ . . . did you feel it?

No! These acts of the Spirit were invisible, inaudible, one time transactions between the Spirit and the sinner.  God moving on your behalf – once for all time!

Spirit baptism brings the believer into a unique and living union with Jesus Christ.  To be baptized with the Holy Spirit means that we are immersed into the Body of Christ.  This spiritual baptism is what connects us with all other believers in Christ and makes us part of Christ's own body.  It is a fact, not a feeling.

Before we wrap up this study, there are two additional baptisms worth mentioning.

The New Testament talks about two other baptisms:

1) the baptism of sin upon Christ at Calvary

Jesus referring to the cross says, "But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!"  (Luke 12:50)

Peter wrote, "Jesus bore our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin should live unto righteousness" (I Peter

Now John said that Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  While the Pentecostal and  Charismatic movements apply the first baptism literally (Holy Spirit’s baptism), they unfortunately interpret the second baptism (fire) metaphorically.  

I believe the Bible teaches that both baptisms are to be understood literally. 

Matthew spells out this final baptism - a baptism of fire that is not related to the tongues of fire at Pentecost, but to the fire that never ends!

2) the baptism of God's wrath upon unbelievers

Matthew 3:11-12,  As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

12.  And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

Pretty clear isn't it?!

Compare this passage with Revelation 20:14-15. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Dear friends, the first baptism that John the Baptizer prophecied centuries ago came true at Pentecost.  The second baptism he prophecied will also come true one day in the future. 

So this present dispensation, or age of grace, is clearly divided into two groups of people:

                  Those who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

                  Those who will be baptized with eternal fire.

In which group are you?


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